Software IP Protection – How to Protect Software Intellectual Property?

perpetual licensing (1)
Why You Should Stop Selling Perpetual Licenses to Your Product
25th January 2021
Is Sharing Really Caring? Not If It’s Your Password
29th March 2021
Show all

Software IP Protection – How to Protect Software Intellectual Property?

How to Protect Software IP?

Protecting Intellectual Property for Software

For anyone that hasn’t been paying attention, a digital revolution has been occurring since the 1980s. The software industry is growing exponentially. Disrupting and transforming almost every industry from healthcare to education, and blurring the lines between the physical and the digital along the way. As a developer or vendor of software, you want your business to be rewarded for the time and effort you have expended in your contribution to technology. But what are intellectual property rights? How do they relate to software? And how do you protect software intellectual property?


What is IP Protection For Software and How Does it apply to Software Technology?

Intellectual property refers to any ‘creation of the mind’, and in general we tend to think of this as being literary or artistic works. However, since the 1970s, intellectual property has also included the legal protection of computer programmes - so that developers can earn recognition and gain financial benefit from the software applications that they create.

To further the protection of the intellectual property rights of artists, writers and designers, the Berne Convention was held in 1886. The Berne Convention states that rather than requiring any kind of formal application or registration, copyright exists on all works, from the moment they are ‘fixed’. The Berne Convention also states that except for photographic and cinematographic work, copyright protection automatically lasts for the life of the author, plus 50 years.

Iteration after iteration, vigorous testing and development and ‘ta-dah’ - a software creation is finished. And now, thanks to the Berne Convention, regardless of whether software was developed from scratch or built upon the source code of another application, the intellectual property in the finished work is automatically protected by copyright law. However, beware; the legalese of IP Protection is not a Software IP protection strategy.

Copyright infringement includes direct and indirect copying, as well as unauthorised translation of software code into different programming languages. The law exists to protect software applications from intellectual property theft. Anyone that downloads or runs a software without permission is infringing on the exclusive rights of the copyright owner and could be liable for any damages or subject to a statutory fine. However the legislation itself can only be used to enforce intellectual property rights - it doesn’t track software usage and can’t alert the copyright owner to an infringement of their work.


IP Protection for Software Apps

There are different forms of IP Protection, each affording different levels of protection. The worst IP protection strategies for computer software involve keeping a record of software sales and manually deploying software keys. Usually born out of necessity and / or not having the resources to build an automated solution in-house, this method relies on tracking software sales and deploying some sort of ‘key’ in order for software to run.

Reconciling license keys against a database of authorised users and shipping physical hardware, such as license dongles, is a time-consuming and expensive process. And the pay-off isn’t that great. Aside from the additional admin costs, even with perpetual licensing or hardware-based IDs, there's no way of reliably knowing where and how software is being used. Hardware can be cloned and license dongles can easily be passed from one user to another - and what about customers that want consumption-based, subscription or other usage models?

Read our guide to learn more about Licensing as a Service.

Best IP Protection Software

The first step to creating a robust Software IP protection strategy is to let go of outdated systems. For software providers, the best IP protection software not only creates a great customer experience when onboarding new customers, the inherent operational efficiency aligns with the objectives of every successful software company.

In a highly competitive, global digital market, it is no longer financially viable to expect customers to endure cumbersome processes to gain access to a software programme. In today's modern digital world, end-consumers are also not just aware of metered usage, free trials and ‘pay as you go’ pricing, they have come to expect these options. Software vendors need to offer several different software usage models - maybe even to the same customer - and they also need to be able to reliably revoke access rights as the entitlements of their customer-base evolves.


How can 10Duke help with Software IP Protection?

Unlike other assets in the public domain, software applications are not sold. Instead they are operated under a license provided by the copyright owner - also known as ‘software licensing’. In other words, software licensing is the vehicle that protects the intellectual property rights of software vendors and therefore every software application has a software licensing process.

10Duke provides robust IP Protection for software applications with solutions that enable our clients to easily manage software deployment, with usage data available in real-time. With full-scale customer ID management and Identity-based Licensing, we enable our clients to consolidate their existing software business into a cloud-based software management solution.

Read our guide to Customer Identity and Access Management

Compared with more traditional device-based licensing models, identity-based licensing can offer you significant competitive advantages In a multi-app, multi-device world. Identity-based licensing offers more flexibility both in terms of the licensing terms under which you can make your products available and in terms of improving the ease with which your customer can access and interact with your products.


Learn the Basics of 10Duke Software Licensing

Basics of 10Duke Licensing


For many software businesses the Intellectual Property rights contained in their finished works are the fundamental building blocks for their business. How unlikely it would be for the same thousands of lines of code in your application to have been created independently by someone not engaged in unauthorised copying?

With the right licensing engine you can obtain granular control over software usage while at the same time offering the licensing models most suited to maximising revenue, rather than forcing you to adapt to an inflexible model, ill-suited to your business.

Accelerated by the events of the last 11 months, the world is now more digitally focussed than ever. End-users that, for one reason or another, may have resisted online solutions in the past, are embracing them with ever-widening arms. For software vendors, this either represents a huge challenge, or offers an incredible opportunity.

Identity and access management from 10Duke protects your software related innovations by letting you know exactly who is using your software and when, across a mix of desktop, mobile, mobile web and browser-based applications. Learn more.

28th February 2024
login-based licensing

Login-Based Licensing: Flexible & User-friendly Approach to Software Licensing

Login-based licensing means to license and control access to software based on user login credentials, simplifying product access.    
9th January 2024
benefits of multi-factor authentication

Why Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)? A Key to Enhanced Digital Security

Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) involves two or more methods of authentication in order for an individual user to be given access to a system.    
10th May 2023

5 Reasons Why Web Applications Need a Software Licensing Engine

Dedicated licensing engine provides significant value and helps overcome complexity. In this blog we explain the complexity and how to solve it.
7th October 2022
Centralised Licence Management

How Centralized Software License Management Will Increase Your Revenue

License management is typically looked at simply as a cost of doing business. When done correctly, license management can be an engine of revenue growth, removing […]
18th August 2022
10Duke Cloud Based Licensing

Cloud-based Software Licensing | The Modern Way

Every kid coming out of Harvard, every kid coming out of school now thinks he can be the next Mark Zuckerberg, and with these new technologies […]
11th April 2022
To build or buy a software licensing system

Software Licensing System – The Build vs. Buy Conundrum

To build or buy a licensing system – the huge question all growing software vendors will face. This blog will help you make an informed decision.
13th December 2021

Licensing As a Service – Why It’s the Modern Way of Software Licensing

Licensing as a Service, a new method of software licensing, offers flexible and effective means of monetizing software products quickly and easily.
20th August 2021
10Duke 101 - Understanding 10Duke Licensing

10Duke 101 – Understanding the Basics of 10Duke Licensing

A brief introduction to 10Duke’s Licensing Solution. We will go through its main concepts and how to integrate with 10Duke, including delegation of authentication, product configuration […]
12th May 2021

Software Activation – The Good, The Bad and the Modern

Software Activation is a technology that verifies a software product has been legitimately licensed for use. Learn how to do it effectively.

Software IP protection strategy is not just about limiting access. The best IP protection software also aims to enhance customer experience.